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2013 NFL Draft: Tavon Austin headlines wide receiver rankings

With the 2013 NFL Draft set for April 25-27 at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NFL.com draft analyst Josh Norris is identifying the top prospects available at every position. Today, he presents an overview of the best wide receivers. For a complete list of the rest of the positions, click here.

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1. Tavon Austin, West Virginia: Austin is the premier playmaker in this class. Electric with the ball in his hands, he is able to make quick cuts, anticipate and use his vision to make oncoming defenders miss, though some will question his size (5-foot-8 1/2). According to West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen, Austin never missed a single practice during his collegiate career. Projection: First round

2. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee: Like Austin, Patterson is a dangerous playmaker who can immediately make things happen with the ball in his hands. He's not overly physical, but the Vol is a smooth runner with great balance. There will be concerns about his incomplete route tree, but Patterson created separation without the explosive cuts. Projection: First round

3. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson: The most consistent receiver in this class, Hopkins wins by separating with precise routes and is competitive at the catch point thanks to very strong hands. He isn't a burner, but Hopkins has enough long speed to run vertically. Projection: First round

4. Keenan Allen, Cal: Sure, Allen's 40-yard-dash times in the 4.7-second range at his pro day were a bit slower than expected, but speed isn't his game. Allen shows great burst in and out of his breaks while consistently winning at the catch point and showing the toughness to pick up extra yards. His 40 time might lower his draft position, but the talent is still there. Projection: Second round

5. Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech: Patton is extremely smooth, showing the body control and fluid movement to excel on vertical routes and comebacks. He rarely drops a pass he gets both hands on. There's nothing eye-popping about Patton's game, but he will have a long career. Projection: Second round

6. Markus Wheaton, Oregon State: There have been plenty of comparisons made between Wheaton and Mike Wallace; I actually think the Oregon State product is further along in his development than Wallace was coming out of college. Wheaton definitely gets behind coverages, but he also cuts his routes off with burst and works underneath well, too. Projection: Second round

7. Robert Woods, USC: Perhaps the second-best slot receiver in this class after Austin, Woods can dominate in the short-to-intermediate game, though he should not be overlooked on downfield shots, either. As long as his ankle stays healthy, Woods will be productive. Projection: Second round

8. Stedman Bailey, West Virginia: Bailey is not as flashy as his Mountaineer teammate Austin, but he always came through when Geno Smith needed him most. He thrives in the red zone and creates slivers of separation at the catch point. Projection: Second round

9. Justin Hunter, Tennessee: Hunter has all of the upside boxes checked. After he suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2011, I expected the Tennessee product to face physical setbacks. Instead, we saw way too many mental lapses in the form of drops. But Hunter has the length and agility to be an impact target. Projection: Second round

Follow Josh Norris on Twitter @JoshNorris.

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